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Architype's eco-business centre gets green light

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Cherwell District Council has approved plans by Architype for a zero carbon business centre in Bicester 

The three-storey building comissioned by the council will provide 125 office spaces for local businesses and forms part of the Elmsbrook site in the Farrells-designed North West Bicester masterplan. 

The 11,47m² project includes ’vertical timber fins’, which wrap around the exterior of the building, and PV solar panels. 

Elmsbrook, which is currently under construction, is the first stage of the North West Bicester masterplan. Plans include 393 zero carbon homes, a primary school, eco-pub and Architype’s Eco Business Centre. 

The eco centre has been designed to achieve both a BREEAM Excellent rating and the new Passivhaus Plus standard.

Overall, Farrells’ North West Bicester masterplan - backed by A2Dominion - will create around 6,000 new zero carbon homes. In 2015, planning permission was granted for the second phase of the masterplan, which includes includes 2,600 homes on 1.5 million m² of land. 

Work on the eco centre is expected to start on site later this summer, with a completion date scheduled in 2018. 

Project data

Type Of Project New build
Client Cherwell District Council
Architects Architype
Contractors Kier Construction
Project Managers Virtus
Structural Engineers Price & Myers LLP
M&E consultant E3 Consulting Engineers
Landscape Churchman Landscape Architects
Start date on site August 2017
Expected Completion June 2018
Gross internal floor area 11,47m²
Form of contract / procurement Design & Build

08930 press image sf

08930 press image sf

Source: Architype


Architect’s view 

The vibrant new workplace, positioned on a gateway corner of the new ‘local centre,’ has been sensitively designed to be a distinctive building that forms a characterful bookend to the street, without detracting from the surrounding residences and mixed-use developments. Striking vertical timber fins that wrap the external envelope, function as a shading mechanism to the high levels of glazing, whilst also creating an attractive aesthetic.

The core of the simple, rectangular form is a triple height top-lit circulation space, which, coupled with the generous walkways, breakout spaces and landscaped areas is designed to encourage informal meetings and foster a transparent community culture.

In parallel with a pallet of non-toxic natural materials, the environmental strategy will support a healthy working environment, helping to increase workforce wellness and productivity through clean, optimised air supply and eliminating excessive use of artificial heat and light.

The low form-factor and high levels of quality insulation will be critical in the building’s thermal performance, which besides offering a controlled internal environment, will keep energy consumption to a minimum. The fabric-first approach is bolstered by a renewable energy strategy, including PV panels and heat supplied from the local district heating system.

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